Biography of Folk Rock Artist Singer Songwriter Mike T. Marino
Biography of Folk Rock Artist Singer Songwriter Mike T. Marino & His Restless Soul Erosion

Erosion is natural and unstoppable. Over 5 albums and 20 years, ace songwriter Mike Marino has been chronicling the constant erosion of classic Americana through his literate and emotive Heartland Rock. His music harkens back to a bygone era of thoughtful, finely-crafted, rootsy rock n’ roll, but it feels kick-in-the-pants vital today. Fittingly, the Philly-based artist’s music has been called “Vintage Rock for a New World.”

“I watched a lot of things erode away over the years. I was born a Shadow Boomer, on the cusp of two worlds, the progressive ‘60s and the farm life that predated that,” Mike explains. “My music and my message are about a longing for something that I thought was a better experience.”

Mike spent his formative years growing up on a small South Jersey farm in the crossfire of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War. The quaintness of the community, and the purity of the environs made an indelible impact on him as a person and as an artist. “Before I was a songwriter, I had this longing, even at a young age, where I watched us lose the farm, and I saw an old-world eroding,” he recalls. “I was a sentimental kid.”

Marino is furthering the tradition of rustic and reflective songwriters in the vein of Gene Clark of The Byrds, Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young. His influences range from the British Invasion to the Bakersfield-inspired West Coast sound of the 1960s. His songs are steeped in that era of music where American roots music became explored by contemporary poetic songwriters. His singing soothes and, at times, his lyrics sting, revealing hard truths of modern times.

“There is a sadness in my music—a longing for something just out of reach,” Mike admits. “Writing songs is medicinal for me. Every album I’ve written wrestles with this longing, and how precious time is and how it always slips away.”

The titles of his albums frame a focused conceptual artist continuum of this yearning for slower and more thoughtful living. Mike’s catalog includes Last of the Heartland (2000), Another World (2004), Out of the Darkness (2007), Tomorrow's Yesterday (2016), and Erosion (2020). These are all available on Spotify under the artist name Mike Marino & his Restless Soul.

Folk Rock Artist Singer Songwriter Mike T. Marino

“What’s changed in the collection of albums is that I’m better at getting my point across, and I’m a more mature musician and singer. I’m still the same person; I still lament the loss of my boyhood farm and what that all represents,” Mike shares.

These album entries have been praised by national publications such as No Depression-Journal of Roots Music, Paste Magazine, Indie Source, National Reviewer, Middle Tennessee Music, Keith “Muzikman” Hannaleck, and the esteemed UK publication Blues Matters. Mike has also been the featured artist pick on Philly’s WXPN 88.5FM, received the ASCAP Plus Emerging Artist Award for extended plays, and placed as a Semi-Finalist in both the Great American Songwriting Contest and the Dallas Songwriting Competition. His song “Edge of Dawn” won a contract with the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp) to be used on an episode of the acclaimed series Revision Quest. Also, his song “Twenty too Late” (which is a tribute to Stephen Stills and the folk-rock migration from Greenwich Village to the Sunset Strip) was included on Volume 38 of The Acoustic Rainbow (Poetman Records Publishing), alongside such artists as Judy Collins, Stephan Stills, and Vince Gill among others.

Tracks in Mike’s catalog such as Everything has Changed, featured on Another World, Here Today—Out of the Darkness and from his last album Tomorrow’s Yesterday,—We Caught A Glimpse and No Stone Unturned are reminders of his talent as a guitarist; the searing lead lines in the tracks live up to the “countrified Clapton” comparison Marino has earned.

His 5-album streak culminates with Erosion—the sharpest distillation of Mike’s potent messaging. The 14-song album opens with “Something in Your Eyes,” a song that’s reminiscent of old Dave Mason flavored material. Up next is the standout “What Do We Do Now,” a sweet country-rock lament for fallen musical heroes such as the late Tom Petty, immortalized by the lyric: You showed us how to be cool/ you were nobody’s fool/There was magic in the air/You could feel it everywhere. The cost of this loss is weighed in “Sad Radio,” a moody mid-tempo rocker. This track represents one the of joys of the album: the crisp and vibey production, and the thoughtful instrumentation overlay. Here, there is a rich tapestry of acoustic guitar and lyrical lead guitar supporting Mike’s honeyed weary vocals.

Other highlights include the hauntingly beautiful ballad “Man of Steel / House of Cards” which is an emotional centerpiece of the album. Mike’s sentiments here are epitomized by the lines: So tortured, weak and fragile/From dried forgotten tears/No good soul from heaven/Should have to live in fear. “That is probably one of the most personal songs I’ve released. It deals with my mother’s affliction with bipolarity and depression long before people had any understanding of it, and how it affects the family maybe more so than the patient,” he details. Mike shows a cinematic sense of scene setting and storytelling on “Watching the World Go By,” “Nothing Is Free,” and “Restless Hearts.” These songs capture the underbelly of Americana—the faded dreams, and they evoke the thoughtful ballad portraiture of Bruce Springsteen.

These days Mike is standing strong with his Vintage Rock for a New World, addressing issues of the modern era with timeless authenticity. He says: “I want people to wake up—there are too many zombies with no passion. There is love in what I do, but I have no apologies.”

- Lorne Behrman

Vintage Rock for a New World